Managing stress

There’s no doubt about it, we lead busy lives. Commitments may include anything and everything from work, school, family, social, spiritual, recreational and chores. Other obligations, needs and temporary situations can also be contributing factors, such as finances or moving, also impact us, leaving one with a feeling of being stressed out.

With so much on our plates, it’s no wonder we can feel overwhelmed from time to time, but knowing how to manage stress is key to maneuvering through each day to maintain a healthy balance.  As we continue to recognize American Hearth Month, here are some ways to reduce stress and improve your overall well-being:

1.    Eat plenty of vegetables and fruit! They contain antioxidants that help protect against free radicals within your body that damage your cells, helps reduce inflammation within your body, and increases your immunity!
2.    Get sufficient sleep, which generally ranges from 7 – 10 hours, depending on your age. Children, adolescents and teens need more, and as you age, your body tends to require less sleep. Remember that sleep allows your body to reset, restore, and heal.
3.    Exercise! Try to get at least 30 minutes of moderate (or higher) exercise at least 4 times per week. You’ll probably notice improved mental performance and overall boost in your mood!
4.    Drink plenty of water, which keeps your entire body hydrated, from a cellular level to your skin, and keep you moving more effectively.
5.    Meditation has been reported to help improve mental clarity and also provides you with a few minutes to relax and reflect on what’s important to you. Spend 5 minutes in a quiet, dimly lit room either sitting or lying down with no noise or distractions and concentrate on positive things in your life or things you want to achieve.
6.    Pick up a hobby and work on it a little every day or week. This could be cooking, coloring, painting, knitting, gardening, puzzles, volunteering, or anything else you enjoy!
7.    Sometimes having help can lighten the load! Consider assigning chores or tasks to family members, and you can even make a game out of it! Once they’re done, go outside to play a game, or every week celebrate your accomplishments and have a picnic! This also creates good bonding time!
8.    Make sure you have a monthly budget so you can feel confident knowing your financial needs. It can be a simple piece of paper, a spreadsheet, or finance software that guides you through this process. Be sure to make a list of all your monthly expenses and your income, and make any adjustments as needed.
9.    To maximize the time you have each day to conquer the world, write down what you need to do, either by priority or by time of day. Having a way to track your daily to-do’s will help keep you on track and focused, which leads to …
10.    Take some time for YOU each day, whether it’s 5 minutes or 2 hours. However you can spend time doing something you enjoy benefits not only you, but those around you. You are the best you for others when you are the best you to yourself!

Now that you’ve just discovered a little more free time, seize the day!

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